This happens to be one of the most enlightening ideas I love to show to my students when they are going through a hard time. To help them let go of the illusion of perfection and how things ‘should be’.
I’m practicing consistently and so I expect an improvement: it’s the basic law of cause and effect at work, right? And if I’m practicing a lot, I expect my progress curve to be approximately like the light blue line in the chart below.
Straight from point A to point B. Which basically means that as time goes by, I’m getting better and better, in a regular, linear process.
Unfortunately that’s an ideal, and that’s not how things work in reality.
A more accurate description of the curve our progress makes, particularly in the long term, is shown by the black line: you see what’s going on? You still get from point A to point B, but how do you feel during that period of time when in spite of working hard, and maybe even practicing all day, you go down to point c, that is, you actually get worse than a few months or weeks before? Frustrated, uninspired, insecure?
Point c is where amateurs separate from the pros, who love music so much that they keep at it even if they seem to get nothing in return.
So when that happens to you, of course make sure your practice routine is effective. But if you ever lose motivation, feel a little down, and maybe even start considering giving up, remember: it’s just a temporary phase! See what’s there usually right after point c… point d!
Keep it always in mind, when you are investing in your growth and development as a drummer and musician. Be aware that point d is always right around the corner. Especially if you are experiencing a plateau.
If you appreciate these kind of topics, there’s a whole book that explores subjects almost never discussed in the drumming community. Which are nonetheless extremely relevant.
Have a look at ‘Actualized Drummer‘, it’s packed with knowledge that can help you grow as a musician: